I know, I know. I haven't posted since my eulogy to Dominick Dunne back in January. My apologies, and mea culpa. But the cells have not been dormant. I've been thinking. Three a.m. toss and turn kind of thinking, even as a beautiful woman lies peacefully and blissfully unaware at my side. I've been thinking about why I've had so many near misses, so many close calls, so many Almost Famous moments, dancing with stars, even my own Fifteen Minutes of Fame, personally bestowed by Andy Warhol himself, yet always felt like an impostor, like I didn't belong. What's up with that?
Well, for starters, it was extraordinarily reassuring to learn, even so many years later and too late to thank the man personally, that Nick Dunne had always felt the same way. We were opposites, of course, in some ways: he grew up rich, I didn't. He was famous. I wasn't. He was hugely successful. I wasn't. And yet, and yet: we felt the same way about ourselves, and our lives. Strange thing, that. And so I set out to understand it, at least about myself. And I came to some startling realizations: what was at the root of all of it, both Nick Dunne's self doubts and my own, was a common and simple illness. It's called depression.
He dropped out for ten years to deal with it. I've been dealing with it my whole life, almost from birth (being conceived in the aftermath of Hiroshima didn't help). In fact, I am a recovered depressive. This is like being a recovered alcoholic, or cold turkey ex-smoker. Recidivism is likely. And I have recovered from depression more times and more often than any smoker ever quit. But what's different for me, now, at this late stage in my life, is the aforementioned woman at my side, who has provided the cure. It was so simple, in the end: it's called 'happiness.' It's actually out there, a brass ring on the Merry-go-Round you can actually seize, if you're quick enough, and alert enough, aware enough, and willing to try. It comes in all sizes, money can't buy it (as Lennon tried to warn us) and yet there it is.
(This is an excerpt from my forthcoming memoir, Almost Somebody). Stay tuned.